Falsifications of Breathalyzer Records Continue

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on October 25th, 2008

A few days ago I posted about a state breathalyzer inspector who was "fixing" machines in Miami-Dade County by simply deleting evidence of malfunctions. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement fired her — but not until after she had cast doubt on as many as 10,000 DUI convictions .  See How to Prove Breathalyzer Accuracy: Falsify the Records

I concluded the post with the comment, "Do you really think this only happens in Miami?"….

Thousands of DWI Cases Put in Jeopardy

Inspector faked her checks of devices that test breath, DPS says

Houston, TX.  Oct. 25  -  Thousands of drunken-driving cases in the Houston area could be dismissed because of an inspector of alcohol breath test machines who didn’t conduct the examinations she claimed to have completed.

The Texas Department of Public Safety announced Friday that it suspended the certification for a woman who contracted to keep the breath test machines accurate for the Clute, Friendswood, Galveston, League City, Pearland, Seabrook, South Houston and Webster police departments.

DPS said she altered electronic records to make it appear she’d tested and adjusted the calibrations of machines when she had not.

DPS officials said the woman, an independent contractor with each of the municipalities, had been falsifying records for up to a year and that would affect at least 2,600 DWI charges. The Texas Rangers are conducting the criminal investigation.

She has not been charged with any crime…


Thanks to Bryan Hanks and Troy McKinney.

  • David W

    Maybe MADD ought to be put in charge of this.

    You know, donate a little time to make sure we don’t have any “falsely accused” individuals have their live’s flipped upsidedown because they may have had a beer on the way home, but got stopped in a roadblock. Then found themselve’s spending thousands to go to court, find the charges were without merit,, then be sent home not guilty.

    Without even a mention of an apology no less. Sounds like someone I know.

    They are caring souls,,aren’t they?

  • swl46

    This woman is dealing with people’s lives. Because of her, there have probably been many people who have been falsely accused of drunk driving.

  • msk

    ***UPDATE*** –>machine inspector found guilty; story from the Associated Press:

    Convictions set aside after Department of Public Safety contractor convicted of falsified inspections records for police intoxilyzers.

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    HOUSTON — More than 1,200 driving while intoxicated convictions in Harris County are invalid after a contractor was convicted of faking inspections of alcohol breath testing devices, prosecutors said.

    Deetrice Wallace, a Department of Public Safety contractor, told investigators that she had falsified inspections records for South Houston and Clute police department intoxilyzers.

    Wallace was prosecuted for three counts of tampering with a governmental record and on Friday was sentenced to a year in prison.

    Harris County Assistant District Attorney Terese Buess said about 1,000 defendants convicted of DWI can petition for a retrial without evidence submitted by Wallace. Some defendants had more than one case affected.

    Buess said Wallace manipulated the machines instead of changing the reference sample every month and pocketed $146,000.

    From 2002 until she was arrested in October 2008, Wallace handled DPS instruments that were used to determine alcohol concentration in DWI cases for at least seven police departments: League City, Friendswood, Webster, Seabrook, Galveston, Clute and South Houston.

    Buess said Wallace signed off on about 4,000 test slips. Of those, some did not result in convictions and others were not in Harris County. Buess did not know how other counties would address the problem. The prosecutor was not optimistic about seeking 1,200 convictions again because the office will not have test results, and other evidence has been destroyed, including videotapes.

    DPS officials invalidated all breath tests recorded by intoxilyzers under Wallace’s supervision because they could not pinpoint the date when her unethical behavior began.

    “It’s just a massive problem that is not going to go away,” Buess said. “It’s a huge mess.”

  • Joe Martinez

    On December 15, 2013, a Harris County Constable had me blow in a Breathalyzer for a reading of .0716. He then retested me and added the second breath to the first for a reading above the legal limit. I’ve brought all this to the attention of the court, and was threatened with 25 years in prison because of a criminal past from over 20 years ago. I had to chose between 2 years in prison, or spend the next several years proving I was under the legal limit. All this was done to protect the credibility of the arresting officer. I sought aid from the Innocence project, but never got a satisfactory response. The arresting video of the Breathalyzer bares out the truth of my statement, {cause #1371412}.